Animal encounters, like monsters, are an exciting part of any exploration adventure in Traveller. Sadly, there aren't a lot of sources for creature stats in Traveller. However, there are plenty of Open Game Content sources written for other gaming systems. The beauty of operating under the same license, though, is that you can take the Open Content from one system, translate it and then use it for the second gaming system and still be perfectly legal about it, so long as you follow all the requirements for doing so. (That means including a copy of the OGL in your product, and updating the Section 15 of your copy of the license to include all the references found in the original source's copy of the OGL. After all, you have to give credit where credit is due.)
With a little elbow grease, you could easily come up with some conversions for D20 monsters that would fit in your campaign or adventure. Let's take, for example, the aboleth. For those that do not know, the aboleth is a revolting fish-like amphibian found primarily in subterranean lakes and rivers. An aboleth has a pink belly. Four pulsating blueblack orifices line the bottom of its body and secrete gray slime that smells like rancid grease. It uses its tail for propulsion in the water and drags itself along with its tentacles on land. An aboleth weighs about 6,500 pounds. An aboleth attacks by flailing with its long, slimy tentacles, though it prefers to fight from a distance using its illusion powers. While D20 paints a picture of the beast as an intelligent psionic creature that can create spawn that serve it, we can easily use the core of this concept as an awesome encounter in Traveller.
The aboleth's stat block under D20 looks something like this:
Aboleth: CR 7; Huge Aberration (Aquatic); HD 8d8+40 (76 hp); Init +1; Spd 10 ft. (2 squares), swim 60 ft.; AC 16 (–2 size, +1 Dex, +7 natural), touch 9, flat-footed 15; BAB/Grapple +6/+22; Atk Tentacle +12 melee (1d6+8 plus slime); Full Atk 4 tentacles +12 melee (1d6+8 plus slime); Space/Reach 15 ft./10 ft.; SA Enslave, psionics, slime; SQ Aquatic subtype, darkvision 60 ft., mucus cloud; SV Fort +7, Ref +3, Will +11; Str 26, Dex 12, Con 20, Int 15, Wis 17, Cha 17; Skills & Feats: Concentration +16, Knowledge (any one) +13, Listen +16, Spot +16, Swim +8; Alertness, Combat Casting, Iron Will; Environment: Underground; Organization: Solitary, brood (2–4),or slaver brood (1d3+1 plus 7–12 skum); Treasure Double standard; AL LE.
Using the above, we can start the translation pretty easily. First, the physical ability scores translate almost directly by dividing by 1.5. That gives us: Str 18, Dex 8, End 14. Since this is not an animal under D20, I would use the highest animal intelligence (Int 1) for our new creature, just to avoid the whole sophont issue. Wisdom should probably convert easily to Instinct (Ins), so we're looking at Ins 12. Pack is determined entirely by the D20 creature's Organization descriptor, so I would translate that as Pack 1 or Pack 2.
I can double check my physical ability scores by converting 6,500 pounds to kilograms, and then looking on the Size Table. The aboleth is not quite Size 12, so let's call it Size 11 and compare. Both Str and End are calculated by 5d6 at that size, which gives us an average of 17.5. Yes, we're within a reasonable proximity of that. Dexterity is calculated by 2d6 (average 7), and our converted Dex lies in that range. Looks like we are good to go for stats.
Stats complete, I move to the next step, which is identifying the creature type in Traveller terms. Obviously, the aboleth is a Swimmer, and from its description, I'm going to call this a Riverbank Swimmer. We know that the aboleth is a Carnivore, and I'd initially consider either a Siren or Trapper. Looking at the examples for each in the Traveller core rules, I'm going to go with a Trapper.
Skills are probably best handled per the Traveller rules, although I'd assign Melee (natural weapons) skill levels based on the BAB divided by four. In this case, my version of the aboleth has the following skills: Athletics 2, Melee (natural weapons) 2, Recon 1, Survival 1.
We already know that the damage of our natural weapons will be 2d6, based on the creature's Strength. I don't see tentacles on the list of weapons in the Weapons Table under Animal Encounters in the Traveller core rules, so I'll use Thrasher for my weapon, instead.
The natural armor modifier of +7, after being halved, becomes our new armor value for this creature.
At this point, I could let it go, but I really want to capture more of the unique flavor of the aboleth for the game. Looking at the creature's Special Qualities and Special Attacks, I note a few of them that easily spring to mind as cool possible effects for a creature encounter. Enslave, or psionic domination, would be very interesting, especially since characters cannot do this. Also, changing the slime from a transformative agent into a paralytic one seems like a reasonable change in keeping with the Trapper motif.
For Enslave, I'd suggest that I first create a Psi score and skills for this character. Using Charisma or Wisdom as the Psionic Strength score seems reasonable, which creates a Psi 12 for this particular creature. Let's give the aboleth skill in Telepathy (2 ranks, perhaps). Enslave should be at least as tough as Assault, so let's go with the following for Enslave:
Telepathy, Psionic Strength, 1–6 minutes, Formidable (–6).
For the paralytic slime idea, we'll treat this like a poison of sorts. When the aboleth hits its target and deals damage, the target must then make a Difficult (-2) Endurance check to resist paralysis. If the target fails the check, they are paralyzed and collapses, unable to move for the next 2d6 minutes.
The end results of this effort can be found below:
|Trapper (Carnivore)||Riverbank Swimmer||18||8||14||1||12||1|
|Athletics 1, Melee (natural weapons) 2, Recon 1, Survival 1, Telepathy 2|
|Thrasher+1 (2d6), Thick Hide (3). Number encountered: 1d3|
|Psi 12, Enslave. Paralytic slime (End check, DM-2, or be paralyzed for 2d6 minutes).|
|The aboleth is a revolting fish-like amphibian found primarily in subterranean lakes and rivers. Four pulsating blue-black orifices line the bottom of its body and secrete gray slime that smells like rancid grease. It uses its tail for propulsion in the water and drags itself along with its tentacles on land. An aboleth attacks by flailing with its long, slimy tentacles, though it prefers to fight from a distance using its telepathic powers.|
And this is how you can use other Open Game Content resources to increase the materials available for your own campaign.